WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 1, 2014 — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, released the following statement today after the Defense Department released a new report on military sexual assault. Today’s report does not include a prevalence survey to determine the total number of estimated cases of unwanted sexual contact in FY2013, the prevalence survey conducted in FY2012 showed an estimated 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact. Earlier this week, Gillibrand wrote a letter to the Pentagon expressing her concerns over potential changes of methodology of the next prevalence survey to be conducted by a new vendor and, “the impact this change will have on the ability to track progress in preventing and responding to sexual assault in the Armed Forces.”
“Today’s report is deeply troubling and shows the scourge of sexual assaults has not been brought under control and our current military justice system remains broken. Since today’s report does not include a total estimated number of crimes committed, it is impossible to draw any conclusions regarding the number of increased reports.
“But the report in front of us should send chills down people’s spines. A system where only 1 out of 10 reported cases proceed to trial for a survivor to have a fair shot at receiving justice is simply not working. Using last year’s baseline of an estimated 26,000 total cases of unwanted sexual contact, we have a system where 8 out of 10 victims of sexual assault still do not trust the chain of command enough to report the crime committed against them. That is a system screaming for additional reform.
“Further, I am deeply worried by today’s data showing no increase in the prosecution and conviction rates compared to overall reporting. More reporting is not the end game. Justice and removing recidivist predators from the military so they can not commit more crimes to arrest the problem is the end game. More people coming forward and not receiving justice only further erodes trust in the system. These shocking numbers should spur Congress to act and finally put these cases in the hands of trained legal professionals to fix a system that is failing our brave men and women in uniform.”